On July 4, Father Carl Kabat, 85, splashed red paint on the massive National Security Complex sign in Kansas City, Mo., at the entry road to the new nuclear weapons parts plant. At Kabat’s side was Byron Clemens, a former public high school teacher in St. Louis. On Aug. 5, Clemens received a trial date of Sept. 5 at KC’s Municipal Court, Courtroom G, at 1:30 pm.

Why was Clemens at Kabat’s side? “I took part in supporting Carl Kabat’s continuing efforts to stop the insanity of nuclear weapons,” said Clemens after his court hearing in KC Aug. 5. “Part of my motivation is the plan for smaller, more ‘usable’ atomic bombs. They’ve abrogated the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty to allow the US to send more nuclear weapons to Europe. The new secretary of defense is proposing distributing smaller and intermediate-range missiles throughout Asia.”

Further, said Clemens, Missouri is home to the first atomic weapons used in the world—the Manhattan Project assigned Mallinkrodt Chemical Works in St. Louis to enrich uranium. “They still haven’t cleaned up their mess,” said Clemens. “It’s impacted my family. My father got cancer working at McDonnell Douglas next to a radioactive waste site (from Mallinkrodt), and my mom never smoked but had lung cancer. My brother, Doug Clemens, a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, is featured in the HBO documentary The Atomic Homefront” (link: https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/atomic-homefront).

Why was Kabat not at Clemens’ side for the Aug. 5 hearing? Kabat, a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), moved July 15 from Illinois to his new home in San Antonio, the OMI Madonna Residence for its senior members. Kabat pulled off “interdependence day” actions on (or near) July 4 in 2011-14, including a July 13, 2013, gathering of 24 line-crossers, and Kabat splashed paint on the National Security Complex sign Aug. 9, 2015. He sends greetings by phone to the peace and justice community, which invites people to attend Clemens’ Sept. 5 trial.

—By Jane Stoever